The Kordofan Giraffe Project

The first census of giraffe in The Republic of Chad
Proud to be in partnership with Giraffe Conservation Foundation and African Parks

Project Overview

There are thought to be less than 2000 Kordofan giraffe in the world, with few in captivity and ZNP is thought to be home to half the world's population. Due to humanitarian issues and conflict throughout central Africa, it hasn't been possible to confirm populations of Kordofan giraffe throughout central and west Africa, with just 48 known individuals in the DRC, unknown numbers, thought to be less then 5 individuals in the CAR, a handful in Cameroon and no more than 30 others in secluded areas in Chad. 

When this project started Kordofan giraffe had not been assess by the IUCN, and no long term research has ever occurred for this subspecies in Chad.


Just a few weeks after the project field work began, the IUCN reassessed the subspecies and listed them as Critically Endangered. Many people were saddened by this, and it is sad, but it is great to have what giraffe conservationists have known for years confirmed by such an influential board as IUCN. It opens up many more avenues for research and conservation funding and awareness, which is all good for the Kordofan giraffe. 

Aims

  • Establish a population count, by photo ID-ing each individual encountered and cross referencing with previously seen giraffe from ID books to establish whether the giraffe is new to the study, or previously seen. 

  • Ascertain a population structure, by identifying each giraffe's sex.

  • GPS satellite collar up to 25 giraffe to ascertain movements, habitat preferences and social and roaming behaviour. 

  • Identify the main predators and scavengers of giraffe in Zakouma, by assessing scar marks and carcasses. 

  • Camera traps will be set at carcass sites to monitor scavenging behaviour and decomposition, as well as live giraffe visits. This will shed light into the wildlife dependant upon giraffe as a food source, and the social impact of a death in the herd.   

  • To DNA test the giraffe to establish the health of the population, relatedness to other populations, and other subspecies. 

  • Monitor the population for signs of ill health such as giraffe skin and giraffe ear disease. 

How to Help! The entire project can be completed for £50,000. All money is for field costs, I personally fund all administrative costs...I am currently seeking funding for the second field season

Each field season in Chad costs approximately £10,000! 

That's £6000 for rental survey vehicle (ideally I would like to buy a vehicle for the second, third and fourth seasons as this would be more cost effective and more reliable, and will mean we have full access to a vehicle at all times, but will need funds of £30000) and £4000 for flights, food, fuel, accommodation, equipment and insurance. 

I appreciate any donations you wish to send. You can do that by bank transfer, or for large amounts, get in touch to donate through the project's partner The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, a US registered NGO charity if you prefer.

The Kordofan Giraffe Project Bank details for donations: 

Sort Code: 11-02-50 

Account Number: 11691466

IBAN Number: GB52HLFX11025011691466

BIC number: HLFXGB21G63

Sponsors

The first field season was partly funded by the following; 

The Rufford Foundation 

Woburn Safari Park

Opticron

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Woodtiger Fund

STILL SEEKING FUNDING FOR SECOND FIELD SEASON

The second field season is partly funded by the following; 

Woburn Safari Park

IDEA Wild

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Woodtiger Fund 

PROJECT UPDATE DEC 2019.

PROJECT UPDATE:

Sorry the page has been quiet for a little while! I have some disappointing news to share, which is that, under medical advice, I have had to take the tough decision to postpone the second field season by a whole year. I have spent the last month having lots of doctors and specialists appointments to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan so I can plan ahead for the project. I understand this will disappoint many of you, and believe me no one is more disappointed and upset than me at this. The main thing I would like to let you all know is that the project is very much still ongoing, and I will continue to prepare for a second field season in January 2021, and while in the UK this year I will now have more time to sort through lots of data and am sure I can get back to bringing you interesting insights from the project data and photos and videos, as well as from my Zakouma friends who I will keep in touch with for any news from the park! For those of you who have named giraffe, I hope to be able to let you know in the coming months if and when your giraffe were spotted throughout the first season when all the data is compiled so keep an eye out for those emails. The good thing is that as season one was largely a recce season to ground truth maps and get a feel for the park, meet the staff and get a good idea of how to plan out the following three seasons of the project it means that by postponing now, before I began the regimented scientific survey schedule the project’s progress will not be impeded.

I’m not one to complain publicly but wanted to explain properly why I’ve had to postpone, as I’ve always tried to be transparent with you all about the project and things that affect it.

So, 6 months before the first field season I was involved in a car accident in the UK, when I was sat in my parked car and someone drove straight into the back of me, causing dislocated ribs and severe back and shoulder pain. The pain just got worse over the following months until I was in such debilitating pain I was totally unable to stand and had to be put on heavy medication (27 tablets a day) prescribed by the hospital. This knocked me out and left me bedridden for most of the 2018 summer. Towards the end of the summer I was able to start physiotherapy and was assured I would make a full recovery to begin the project in the November. This wasn’t the case at all, but it was too late to postpone, so I went off for the first season with as many painkillers as I could take with me and made it through the season with those, as well as some stronger painkillers I was able to buy there and the use of hot water bottles (in 45oC Chadian heat!) and ice bottles on my back almost constantly. Despite this I was out in the vehicle as much as possible around vehicle repairs and recce’d the entire park, got thousands of giraffe photos which I am still sorting through, and estimate I have approximately 500 giraffe in my data set, and I made many great friends and enjoyed myself immensely.  

Coming home however, I was still in considerable pain and so went back to the doctors and was sent for MRI’s, X-rays, physiotherapy and to see surgical specialists. The good news is that I now have a proper diagnosis, which is that as well as the dislocated ribs I was working through the first season with a dislocated collar bone previously missed by the hospital and physios I’d seen last year, and that I do not have any fractures or anything requiring surgery, but that I do need to take a year out and continue with physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles which should hold all the bones in place and relieve the pain, which is slow going but I am already feeling improved. The field conditions in Chad make it a place where recovery is just not possible. Having come off the medication a couple of months ago, I was surprised I was still suffering from all the side effects which came with them over the last year (sickness, dizziness, headaches, hair loss, severe fatigue, depression, severe weight gain, dull mind) so requested lots of blood tests and discovered that I have developed an underactive thyroid, the symptoms of which were being masked by the medications I was on, and potentially caused by some of them. So I am now on medication for that and that alone, and starting to feel like my old self again! I have my drive and energy levels back and am so looking forward to being able to FULLY enjoy my next season in Zakouma pain free! I’m also happy to get this year to be able to prepare as much as I would have liked to for the first season, but was unable to due to the accident.

I really hope you will stay with me on the page and throughout the project, even though I understand it’s disappointing not to have field updates in the same way over the coming months, I will try to bring you as many interesting updates as I can, and will continue to post pictures and videos.

As a thank you for your support so far, and hopefully your continuing support I’ve made you a little video of the wildlife in Zakouma!

I would also like to say a huge thank you to African Parks (Mr Leon Lamprecht, Iris and Willem for your friendship and continued support) and everyone at Giraffe Conservation Foundation, who have been more supportive over this time than I could have ever have hoped for, as well as to my mother who has helped look after me through all this and put up with my frustrations, and to my good friends who have witnessed my total personality transformation as the pain took hold of me and dragged my spirit down with it, and supported me through.

Thank you again, enjoy the video and I’ll be sure to post something weekly if not more often to bring you all the news from AP Zakouma and GCF!


Dominique x x x

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